Former President Donald Trump on Saturday questioned why Nikki Haley’s husband wasn’t on the campaign trail, drawing sharp responses from both the former U.N. ambassador and her husband, who is currently abroad on a National Guard mission.
“What happened to her husband?” Trump told a crowd in Conway, South Carolina, as he and Haley held events across the state ahead of its Feb. 24 Republican primary. “Where is he? He’s gone. He knew. He knew.”
Responded Haley in a post on X: “Michael is deployed serving our country, something you know nothing about.”
It’s the latest example of Trump disparaging his opponents based on their U.S. military service, going back to his questioning of whether the late Sen. John McCain, a prisoner of war in Vietnam, was a hero because Trump liked “people who weren’t captured.” Throughout his political career, Trump has been accused of disregarding longstanding norms on avoiding attacking current or past servicemembers or people in a politician’s family.
Michael Haley began a yearlong stint in June with the South Carolina Army National Guard. Haley is being deployed as a staff officer with the 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, which the National Guard says is providing support in the Horn of Africa.
Shortly after Trump’s comments, Michael Haley posted a meme on his own X account with a picture of a wolf and the text: “The difference between humans and animals? Animals would never allow the dumbest ones to lead the pack.” Nikki Haley’s campaign confirmed the account belonged to her husband.
Trump has said he avoided service in the Vietnam War through student and medical deferments. And Trump’s wife, former first lady Melania Trump, has been absent from the campaign trail and has not appeared with him at a public campaign event since his announcement speech.